There is still time to complete a survey that hopes to find out what Niagara-on-the-Lake residents’ housing needs and desires are as they age.
So far, almost 400 people aged 55 and over have completed the online questionnaire.
But the two researchers overseeing the survey are encouraging more residents to have their say in order to build an extensive database of information that will help generate a solid recommendation about what the community wants.
The survey, which wraps up in mid-January, is a key research tool that an ad hoc committee of residents is using to determine what sort of housing options residents believe they will need as they age.
“We’re aiming to make the sample as large and as unbiased as possible,” said researcher Steve Ferley.
“The aim is to have an objective view of the landscape and be able to draw unbiased conclusions on the issues. The more responses we get, the more we can drill down and look at sub-sets of the data,” he said.
“It’s totally anonymous, takes only about 12 minutes and flows very easily.”
His fellow research expert, Michael Ennamorato, noted, “When we were designing the survey we knew that some people may not have given active thought to their future housing plans, their needs and desires.”
They also knew it might be an issue many didn’t particularly want to address.
“The good news is that people are telling us they’re happy to be invited to think about issues that may have been only at the back of their mind. They’re pleased to be addressing it,” Ennamorato said.
Ferley said one aspect the survey might address is whether people in Old Town have different views than residents of NOTL’s other communities.
“We’ve asked people to rank in order how important various factors are in their plans. Is it different according to their age or according to where they live?”
Some people already might have concrete plans about their future.
“What are those plans? What are the timelines? The larger the sample, the more the data can be analyzed. And it’ll all be done objectively,” Ferley said.
After the survey closes in a couple of weeks, Niagara College School of Business Prof. Nick Farnell and his graduate students will work with Ennamorato and Ferley to analyze and interpret the data.
More than half of NOTL’s population of 19,000 is over 55 and many residents have concerns about what housing options will be available as they get older.
The survey is available in a variety of forms, including a QR code that people can click on by using their smartphone camera or a direct link to the survey via https://forms.office.com/r/NGNVQ11SZd.
As well, anyone without internet access or who has trouble accessing the survey can call 905-468-7498 for help.
The committee that inspired the survey includes Robert Bader, Al Bisback, Fran Boot, Cindy Grant, Bill Halpenny, Sandra Hardy, Terry Mactaggart, Sandra O’Connor, Tom Smith, Tim Taylor and Peggy Walker.
“First, we have to quantify the demand so that we can get the attention of the town, the region, developers and whoever else has a stake in this,” Grant said previously.
“Then we’ll start talking about solutions.”